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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
When we were talking about the Live Paint feature inside of Illustrator, one of the primary tools we were using was the Live Paint Bucket tool, that allowed us to once we've defined or created a Live Paint group, we would be able to apply fill attributes to individual regions. When using the Shape Builder tool, we also have the ability to control the color of the artwork as we're performing these functions. For example, I'm going to start by taking a look at these two circles right here. I am going to select both of them and I'll press Shift+M to select my Shape Builder tool.
Now, we already discussed that when we start clicking-and-dragging on a particular object, then Illustrator uses that color for the final artwork. So if I click on the red shape here and I drag across towards the yellow shape, my final united shape is going to be red. Let me press Undo. If I start dragging on the yellow shape, and then I drag over to the red shape, I now see that my shape is turned yellow. Let me press Undo again. If I start dragging from outside the shape and I drag across, in this case, Illustrator defaults to the behavior of the Pathfinder functions.
Meaning, it now uses the topmost object as the final colored object. So since here in this case, the red circle is at the top of my stacking order, when I release the mouse, I'll see that my entire object turns red. The only reason why all this is happening is because if I double-click on the Shape Builder tool inside of my Tools panel, this brings up the Shape Builder tool Options dialog box and I'll see that there is an option here that says Pick Color From and it's currently set to Artwork. However, if I change this to say Color Swatches instead, I can also choose this option here called Cursor Swatch Preview.
If I click OK now, I'll see that at the top of my cursor for the Shape Builder tool, I now have these three boxes that represent the swatches inside of my Swatches panel. Again, this is exactly the same as those three boxes that appeared on top of the Live Paint Bucket tool when I was working in Live Paint. So now if I use the right or the left -arrows on my keyboard, I can toggle between the different color swatches that appear inside of my Swatches panel. So if I choose Blue for example, and I click in this shape over here, it paints it blue.
So let's actually apply this to some of the artwork here for Mister Zee. I'm going to press Command+Spacebar, Ctrl+Spacebar and zoom in on the bottom part here of this file, and now I'll press Command or Ctrl and drag across these shapes to select them. Now, I know I want to fill certain areas here with color. So what I can do is very quickly just toggle over to black because I want my stripes to be black, and then I'll just simply click here once, click-and-drag across these three shapes here, and then click here once, and I now have created those shapes that I need. I don't need the other parts of the artwork.
So I'll Option+Drag across these areas to remove them. I can also hold down Option+Shift so that I can marquee larger areas like this, kind of delete them all at once, and very quickly with just a few kind of strokes of the mouse over here, as I kind of go through these shapes, I'm able to get at the final stripes that I want for my artwork. Not only was I able to modify the path themselves by using a combination of add and subtract. In fact I see I have one little piece over here left over, Option+Drag over the line and it's gone.
So now I have my three stripes here, and I was able to use the combination of add, subtract, and also the divide, but at the same time, also color in the shapes, all using the Shape Builder tool. So you can see how easy and fast it is. I've actually now combined the benefits of Live Paint and a Pathfinder in a visual and intuitive fashion. The Shape Builder tool in my opinion like I said earlier is the sleeper feature of CS5. You should definitely become familiar with it because I think it will save you so much time in your work using Illustrator.
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